Some Thoughts About Getting Away With Murder (Matthew 5:21 – 26). Bible Lesson. Teen Bible Lesson.
You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.
– Matthew 5:21 – 26 (New American Standard Bible)
This is an example of Jesus fulfilling, elevating and expanding on one of the 10 Commandments. He is taking our personal relationships (and how we live out those relationships) to a whole new level.
In a sense it’s easy to get away with murder – the murder of a person’s self-respect and worth. The real crime is attacking the value of a person God has created with value. Here are four ways we get away with murder:
Don’t Tell Anyone, But . . .
Gossip is one of the top killers of friendships and reputations. Even so-called prayer requests can be a cover for juicy gossip. When you gossip, you damage that person’s image and respect in the eyes of someone else.
She’s So Hot! He’s So Hot!
None of us like to think that we treat people as sex objects, but perhaps we do. When we slobber all over that “babe” on the football team or at school or at work, we don’t see him or her as real people with fears, hopes and dreams. In our dating relationships, do we respect and honor the other person? Do we bring out the best in others? Do they bring out our best?
Often we don’t go out of our way to include people and hope they just keep their distance. Usually they do and fade into the background, perhaps believing that God really messed up when it came to making them. We miss out a lot when we don’t move beyond our circle of friends. Even the most offbeat person had value to God.
The Truth Hurts
Being honest in relationships isn’t a license to blast someone. Ephesians 4:15 says to speak the truth in love. The truth might hurt a bit, but if spoken in love, in the long run it builds up someone and makes him or her a better person. Humility, gentleness and tact goes a long way.
Let’s treat people we meet as if they were great works of art. After all, they (and we) are God’s greatest creation. And He doesn’t make mistakes.